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Re: Business Continuity Plans for an Information Security Office
From: "Lovaas,Steven R" <Steven.Lovaas () COLOSTATE EDU>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 11:31:03 -0700

Good discussions so far on this.

A useful approach is to look at continuity planning not from the perspective of individual disasters or occurences, but 
to analyze which processes/pieces of your organization are critical.

So, rather than imagining what would happen if a tornado hit your server room, consider which applications are 
mission-critical and categorize them in terms of how long they can be down and have business still function. Once you 
have a grid of criticality and downtime-survivability, then you can plan for outages no matter what causes them.


Steven Lovaas, MSIA, CISSP
Network Security Manager
Academic Computing & Network Services
Colorado State University
Steven.Lovaas () ColoState EDU

From: James Moore [mailto:jhmiso () RIT EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information Security Office

Brad raises a good issue that is part of the bigger picture of BCP for a university, at least our university.

We have a lot of small groups.  We are more like a city.  Sometimes, key people have no backup.  It seems that we live 
with a lot of aggregate risk coming from the wide range of functions supported.  My guess is that most of the time, 
there has been some conscious or unconscious decision to allow significant impact to segments of business function, as 
opposed to moderate impact to general business functions (i.e. benefits of specialization are high, all specializations 
will not be lost simultaneously = most customers happy, most of the time).  This of course means that processes and 
infrastructure must be analyzed carefully for single points of failure.

But, musings aside, Brad, thank you for your analysis.  I am definitely using it.



From: Brad Judy [mailto:Brad.Judy () COLORADO EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information Security Office

I want to toss in a reminder here that while it is important to plan for possible larger scale events, it is also 
important to plan for the more common small scale events.  Too often in IT and higher ed (particularly after Katrina et 
al), large scale plans are developed and plans for smaller scale common events are not.

The reality for most IT security offices (and many groups in general) is that the most likely business continuity 
scenario is the abrupt loss of a key staff member (via job departure, illness, lottery winnings, etc).  Most security 
offices are small groups and the loss of a single staff member might amount to an immediate 50% loss in capabilities of 
the group.

Naturally, security offices are also at least partially reliant on technology assets, so the loss of assets should be 
addressed as well.

With some good attention on BCP right now, I'd hate to see focus only on the large scale events and have folks fail to 
document procedures or policy for smaller scale events.  I'm putting together a list of basic common scenarios that I 
think every IT group on our campus should have a plan to address in addition to their large scale event plans.

Brad Judy

IT Security Office
Information Technology Services
University of Colorado at Boulder

From: James Moore [mailto:jhmiso () RIT EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 3:44 PM
Subject: [SECURITY] Business Continuity Plans for an Information Security Office
I admit that my own business continuity plans were on my "to do" list for longer than I would like.    Does anyone have 
or know of a template that I can start with for business continuity planning of the Information Security Office.

The easy thing is to say that we have to do the same things that we always do, but differently.

Risk Assessment - Only a subset of functionality will come back on line.  Some will have been reviewed for risk, and 
others not.  There will have to be some dynamic risk assessment.

Communications - The natural thing to do is to relax security in the different environment so that as much 
functionality as possible can be achieved.  Users find allies, etc.  Communications will need to integrate with 
Business Continuity communications, but still will have a role to guide people to safe business resumption.  
Communications to executive leadership is also regular, but concentrates on service restoration.

Budgets / Administrative - Need to continue, as resources are available.

Strategic - May be for rebuilding.  Or may shift to standards enforcement for existing standards.

Investigations / Forensics - Needed for when things go wrong, and are noticed

This is a high level.  And what I wondered is if anyone had a detailed business continuity plan for their office/role.



- - - -
Jim Moore, CISSP, IAM
Information Security Officer
Rochester Institute of Technology
13 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
(585) 475-5406 (office)
(585) 475-4122 (lab)
(585) 475-7950 (fax)

"We will have a chance when we are as efficient at communicating information security best practices, as hackers and 
criminals are at sharing attack information"  - Peter Presidio

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